Freshen Your Bathroom with Low-Cost Updates

Wake up a tired bathroom with these quick and easy bathroom updates that won't break the bank.

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Everything In This Slideshow

  • 1 of 26

    Maximize Light

    You'll see yourself at your best with the right combination of light sources in the right locations. Refresh a tired bath by replacing outdated light fixtures with modern versions. Online you'll find hundreds of sconces that cost less than $100. For an even thriftier change, look for replacement shades to update the fixtures you have. If you like the style of your sconces but the metal finish doesn't work with your decor, tape off the surrounding areas and give the fixtures a fresh coat of metallic spray paint.

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    Wake Up the Walls with Color

    Give a ho-hum bathroom a color transfusion. The crisp white tile in this bathroom is the perfect companion for the bold orange color used on the upper portion of the walls. The vintage-inspired wall-mount sink is a space-saving and showstopping feature. Shimmering chrome fixtures, a bold wall color, and a vibrant striped area rug make for an easy and affordable new look.

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    Implement Fab Decor

    Details make all the difference in a small space such as a bathroom. Here, style comes courtesy of a pair of floating shelves filled with fresh flowers, a small wood sculpture, and small framed prints. Whimsical wallpaper throughout the room adds hints of glamour.

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    Introduce New Materials

    If your countertops have seen better days, replace them with an unexpected material that'll boost your bathroom's style quotient. A stainless-steel top is a stunning addition to this walnut vanity that perfectly ties into the room's rustic-meets-modern aesthetic.


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    Use Shelving

    Stretch shelving across an unused wall to hold decorative items and grooming supplies. When space is at a premium, envelop the toilet with shelves and drawers. Neatly folded towels and toiletries stored in decorative containers create an interesting -- and practical -- display.

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    Install a Dose of Tile

    Give your bathroom sink star status with a little extra detailing. Rather than tiling a whole tub surround or wall, add just a border of tile above the sink vanity. Here, sea blue tiles add a sophisticated, spa-like touch to the space between the sink and mirror.

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    Update Cabinet Hardware

    Cabinetry's handles, hinges, and doorknobs are the final touches and style setters for any vanity. Luckily, they're simple to replace whenever you want a fresh look -- and cabinetry hardware is available at any price point. Give your cabinet doors and drawers a good cleaning before installing new hardware. Or freshen them with paint or stain to best display the new accents.

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    Install Molding and Trim

    Fake the effects of pricey wood paneling with this budget-savvy makeover. Enlist a series of stock trim and molding pieces to create a fancy board-and-batten wallcovering look, then coat your masterpiece in semigloss white paint. For humid rooms such as the bathroom, look for paints treated with mildewcide to eliminate worries about mildew.

  • 9 of 26

    Hang Artwork

    Give a blah bathroom an instant facelift by hanging artwork. This trio of framed prints adds the perfect bit of contrast and interest to the space above the toilet. Artwork like this is easy to install and a great low-cost update solution.

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    Add Wallpaper

    Looking for a high-impact update? Wallpaper might be the best bet. With so many colors, patterns, and textures available, your wallpaper options are nearly limitless. In this bathroom, wallpaper featuring a pineapple scheme adds glam glimmer to this bright neutral bath.

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    Update Window Treatments

    In addition to providing privacy and light control, window treatments can add a distinctive style statement to your bath. Fabric shades or drapes add romance, wooden blinds provide contemporary style, and shutters give off a cottage feel. Whichever window treatment you choose, be sure the material is moisture-resistant.

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    Easy Roman Shades

    Take an afternoon to power up your bathroom's style and privacy with this step-by-step video that shows how to turn miniblinds into a beautiful roman shade.


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    Create Comfort Underfoot

    When painting or changing fixtures isn't an option, such as in most rentals, make a personalized statement with a colorful area rug. Choose a rug that has a nonslip back and can withstand bathroom moisture. This tiny rug adds a splash of color while warming up the cold ceramic tile.

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    Add a Colorful Curtain

    Instantly freshen a stale bath with a punchy new shower curtain. This green-and-white striped curtain shows the dramatic effect color can have on an all-white space. For an extra color boost, coordinate it with towels, rugs, and artwork.

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    Boost a Medicine Cabinet

    Max out your medicine cabinet with better storage, shelf liners, or a slim message center for early-morning reminders. Here, magnetic office accessories were repurposed as catchalls for grooming supplies.

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    Integrate Storage

    Use elegant shelving to hold both decorative objects and grooming supplies. This pretty metal freestanding shelf placed between a pair of pedestal sinks matches the faucets, creating a cohesive look. The simple storage unit is the perfect complement to the bathroom's light and airy aesthetic.

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    Add Trim to Mirrors

    Give your bathroom mirrors a finished look by surrounding them with molding. These mirrors feature a simple border of painted wood that ties into the artwork above the tub. If you want something more decorative, purchase molding that includes carvings in the motif of your choice.

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    Add Shutters

    Replace ordinary window treatments with crisp white shutters for a casual feel. Vinyl shutters cost less than wood ones and stand up to a bathroom's humidity without warping. Check online or at a local home center for low-cost options.

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    Coordinate Storage

    Ditch your mismatched bins and baskets in favor of colorful designs that coordinate. These purple baskets add a pop of color to the undersink area and match bath towels and accessories. Look for containers that can stand up to moisture and are easy to clean.

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    Small-Bathroom Storage

    Get ideas for storing more in a small bathroom.

  • towel bar on bathroom vanity 21 of 26

    Give Towels a New Home

    If wall space is limited, install a handy towel bar along the side of your vanity. This metal bar's brushed finish coordinates with the rest of the room's fixtures. Consider installing two bars stacked vertically if you need additional towel storage.

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    Try a Pedestal Sink

    Free up floor space in a small bathroom by replacing a boxy vanity with a sleek pedestal sink. If you are unfamiliar with plumbing, trade jobs with a friend who knows how to install the sink. You're sure to find a pedestal sink that costs less than $100, faucet included, at your local home center or online.

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    Freshen Your Vanity

    Have a plain-Jane vanity? Give it a wow-worthy makeover with these creative updates you can do yourself -- on a dime.


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    Add Furniture Details

    Give ho-hum cabinetry a dramatic update with molding and furniture-style details. Here, furniture-style feet on the bottom of the vanity are reminiscent of a freestanding antique, which blends well with the room's modern-meets-vintage aesthetic.

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    Create a Custom Vanity

    Rather than using standard cabinetry, consider creating a sink vanity out of an old dresser. A cabinetmaker can cut a hole in the top of the dresser to fit a drop-in sink. Cover the top of the dresser with a slab of countertop in the material of your choice. Paint the dresser a punchy color to update it even further.

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    Begin Slideshow »

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